Smoked mackerel pate with pickled cucumber

Recipes, Summer

This pâté is a recipe my mum used to make quite often. I’ve actually got no idea what she put in it (I really should ask!), but I tried a few different dairy options and like this one the best! It takes no time at all and is very good for you because of all of the omega-3 fatty acids in the mackerel. You can serve it as a starter on crackers, crostini or crusty bread, or make mini versions as canapés. It’s also a great sandwich filler or dip with vegetable crudités. It will last for a few days covered in the fridge.

The pickled cucumber is a fantastic accompaniment; the sharpness of the vinegar cutting through the richness of the fish. Pickling is brilliant if you have excess vegetables. If you use sterilised, sealed jars you can leave this in the fridge for absolutely ages, but as the cucumber is soft and quickly soaks up the vinegar, you can also make them just a couple of hours in advance.


Serve 4 as a starter or makes about 10 canapés

150g smoked mackerel
50ml crème fraiche
50ml natural yogurt
½ tsp lemon juice
 
½ small cucumber
Juice of ¼ of a lime (1-2 teaspoons)
Enough cider vinegar to cover
 
Bread or crackers to serve

The pickled cucumber can be made as far in advance as you like. If you want to make it more than a couple of days before, you will need to put it into a sterilised jar with a sealed lid so that it lasts. Otherwise any small dish with a lid or clingfilm over the top is fine.

Slice the cucumber into ribbons using a mandolin or wide potato peeler. You want a couple of ribbons per person if you are serving as a starter, or half/ one small ribbon per canapé.  Put the ribbons into a small dish/ jar – I usually roll them together so they don’t take up loads of space or snap in half (see photo). Squeeze over the lime juice – the quantity doesn’t need to be exact, it’s really a matter of taste – then pour over enough cider vinegar to cover (this will depend on the size and shape of your dish!) I like Biona organics unfiltered vinegar. Cover the dish and pop in the fridge. You want to leave it a few hours minimum, ideally overnight.

For the pâté, break the mackerel into smallish pieces and put in a blender (I use my Nutribullet) with the crème fraiche, yogurt and lemon juice. Blitz until you have a smooth paste.

Serve on bread or crackers with the cucumber on top.